Developing a Therapeutic Approach Toward Active Engagement for Veterans With Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Rebecca Tapia, Deep Garg, Blessen Eapen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Treatment of chronic mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or postdeployment syndrome can be challenging to frontline providers who care for our nation's war heroes. There is ample guidance available for symptom-based interventions, but relatively little information regarding the structure and language of the clinical encounter. Dynamic patient education centered upon relatable language, accessible analogies, and brain health can move the visit beyond historical diagnostics into a shared understanding of postdeployment barriers to reintegration. Objective: We aim to describe a practical, education-based clinical approach for chronic mTBI or postdeployment syndrome (mTBI/PDS). The foundation of this method is gathering the veteran's narrative, validating and normalizing his or her experience, highlighting neurobehavioral changes from combat that may represent barriers to full community reintegration, and transitioning to an emphasis on overall brain health. Conclusion: The chronic mTBI or PDS clinical encounter can be enhanced by empowering the patient with relatable terms and concepts to describe his or her reintegration challenges and emphasizing factors of brain health. This approach can provide the patient with a base of understanding regarding his or her current symptoms, promote focus on factors for cognitive health, and orient the clinical encounter toward improved community reintegration and long-term cognitive wellness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-149
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • adjustment
  • brain health
  • cognition
  • community reintegration
  • education
  • polytrauma
  • postdeployment
  • traumatic brain injury
  • veteran
  • wellness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


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